A group of voluntary organisations met President Pratibha Patil and Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Friday to demand an increase in education and health spending to achieve millennium development goals as laid down by the United Nations.
The group — led by voluntary organisation Oxfam presented a seven-point charter on education and a nine-point charter to improve the health scenario in the country.
“We reiterate our demand for raising total public spending on education to at least six per cent of the GDP. Given the financial constraints of the State governments, the Centre should take lead in augmenting public spending on education,” the charter said.
The groups said there is an urgent need to establish a National Commission on Education. “The last education commission was set up in 1964. With the policy framework of the governments having changed considerably since the 1960s, it is only appropriate that a commission be constituted to address the relevant and emerging issues in education policy and financing,” the charter added.
The NGOs urged the President to impress upon the Central government to spend at least three per cent of the GDP on healthcare. Currently, India spends a little more than one per cent.
The charter also urged the government to fill up thousands of vacancies in hospitals across India.
The UN has underlined a number of millennium development goals that mandates underdeveloped and developing countries to improve child and maternal health by reducing maternal morality and infant mortality. It also has asked countries to make primary education more robust.
Keywords: Voluntary organisations, President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, education, health, Oxfam, public spending, National Commission on Education, healthcare, child and maternal health, maternal morality, infant mortality, primary education